Saving Money on Summer Grilling
On a warm summer day, there’s nothing better than breaking out the grill for a barbecue with friends and family. If you’re not careful, however, you can end up with a big receipt at the store. Here’s how to keep your costs under control so that you can do more summer grilling through the summer.
Meat doesn’t have to be the main item served. Instead, bulk up on the vegetables. Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and buy what’s in season. Many vegetables, such as asparagus, spring onions, bell peppers, eggplants and mushrooms, taste wonderful grilled. Simply brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before putting them on the grill. Leave them on until they’re tender and lightly charred. For extra flavor, you can drizzle some balsamic vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette before serving.
Some fruits, such as peaches, pineapple and pears, also taste fantastic grilled. Brush the sides of the fruits with butter and leave them on the grill until they’re softened and charred. You don’t need to put anything else on them — the grill’s high heat brings out the natural sweetness of the fruits. Besides being great side dishes, grilled fruits, with the addition of ice cream, chopped nuts and honey, become instant dessert.
As for the meat, instead of expensive cuts of steak, serve hamburgers, hot dogs and/or sausages. Make your own chicken skewers by cutting up chicken breast into small cubes and marinating them with your favorite sauce. Then stick the cubes on skewer sticks, alternating with cubes of vegetables.
Instead of buying several bottles of wine and cases of beer, make your own alcoholic drinks. A big pitcher of sangria, which you can easily find recipes for online, will get the party going and look beautiful on the table. What’s also good about sangria is that you can add the leftover fruits to your food selection. While some cocktails are complicated, some can be done with just a few ingredients.
The Grill and Accessories
Buying a grill that’s well made may initially cost more than a cheap one but it’ll save you money in the long run since you won’t have to replace it as much. No matter what grill you buy, test it out first to see that’s sturdy, constructed well and safe. Nothing should tip over. If the grill has handles, it should be a safe distance from the grill’s body so that you don’t risk burning yourself.
Take care of your grill if you want it to last! By regularly cleaning your grill, especially before and after every use, you’ll ensure that it’ll last through many years of summer grilling. Scrub the grate with a stiff brush, oil the grate and remove ashes once they’ve cooled. Also oil any parts of the grill that are prone to rust.
As with the grill, invest in a quality meat thermometer and tongs so that you don’t waste money buying replacements.
Lastly, the best tip to saving money on summer grilling is to be a great host! Remember that the whole point of having a barbecue is to have fun. If you’re genuinely excited about being there, no one will notice that there’s no filet mignon or salmon!